Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer
Adult obesity rates increased in six states in the past year, and did not decrease in any, according to a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The report — The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America — found that significant geographic, income, racial, and ethnic disparities persist, with obesity rates highest in the South and among Blacks, Latinos and lower-income, less-educated Americans.
The report also found that more than one in 10 children become obese as early as 2 years old.
For this year’s report, the two organizations partnered with the NAACP and others to identify more effective strategies for implementing obesity-prevention policies in Black and Latino communities.
“The issue of childhood obesity in America goes far beyond the arena of health. The growing weight of our nation’s children has both moral and ethical implications that can no longer be denied or ignored,” said Niiobli Armah, director of health programs for the NAACP. “Those of us who are engaged in grassroots efforts and understand the social, economic, and political implications of childhood obesity, know that we must take action. With the release of this year’s report we are one step closer to understanding what it will take to achieve our collective goal of curbing this growing epidemic.”
The report reviews existing policies and issues high-priority recommendations for making affordable healthy foods and safe places for physical activity available to all Americans, such as focusing on healthy food financing, improving nutrition and activity in schools and child care settings, limiting the marketing of unhealthy foods to kids, and improving the built environment to support increased physical activity.
“This year’s report provides us with an opportunity to hear voices from local communities that gives additional depth to the data,” said Jennifer White, NAACP manager of health programs and partnerships. “Reducing childhood obesity rates among African Americans requires a health equity perspective and effective engagement with community advocates.”